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String Quartet in F minor, Op 80

composer
No 6

 
The story behind String Quartet No 6, Op 80, by Felix Mendelssohn doesn’t hide behind any fictional tale. In 1847, Felix Mendelssohn was overwhelmed with grief after he lost his closest friend, collaborator and sister Fanny Mendelssohn to a sudden fatal stroke. Upon learning of her death he reportedly shrieked and collapsed to the floor. His last string quartet, his Op 80, has no resemblance to any of his previous works. Instead of the lightness of his famous scherzi, we find a work that is unrelentingly angry and at times brutal. He infused the first and second movements with pain and frustration through repeated accentuations, furious tempos and the dark and gloomy key of F minor. Furthermore, the drama of Beethoven’s own string quartets and the contrapuntal texture of Bach are clear influences in these movements. After two tumultuous movements, the third is a reprieve from the onslaught of grief. It is a nostalgic episode where Mendelssohn reflects on his love for his sister with tender and graceful figures. The primary theme is a sorrowful but sweet melody that is reminiscent of his Songs Without Words. A hushed peaceful chord concludes the movement but Mendelssohn’s anguish returns in the finale. The conclusion of the Op 80 is one of the most virtuosic in the repertoire. The final coda moves with breathtaking speed and force and solidifies this work’s stature as one of the most celebrated quartets ever written.

from notes by Calidore String Quartet © 2018

Recordings

Mendelssohn: String Quartets, Vol. 2
CDA66579Archive Service
Resilience
Studio Master: SIGCD551Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets
CDS44051/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted

Details

Movement 1: Allegro vivace assai – Presto
Track 9 on CDA66579 [7'18] Archive Service
Track 9 on SIGCD551 [7'43] Download only
Track 5 on CDS44051/3 CD3 [7'18] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Movement 2: Allegro assai
Track 10 on CDA66579 [4'49] Archive Service
Track 10 on SIGCD551 [5'06] Download only
Track 6 on CDS44051/3 CD3 [4'49] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Movement 3: Adagio
Track 11 on CDA66579 [7'51] Archive Service
Track 11 on SIGCD551 [8'04] Download only
Track 7 on CDS44051/3 CD3 [7'51] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Movement 4: Finale: Allegro molto
Track 12 on CDA66579 [5'23] Archive Service
Track 12 on SIGCD551 [5'41] Download only
Track 8 on CDS44051/3 CD3 [5'23] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted

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